Linda Duncan

Linda Duncan, Dean of the School of Nursing

Gretchen Carlson Professor and Dean of the School of Nursing

At North Park since: 1973

North Park University’s mission and vision for Christian higher education drew Linda Duncan to the nursing school four decades ago. “North Park’s philosophy of the School of Nursing is clear in its understanding of the value of human life—we are created in the image of God,” she says. “We are able to express our philosophy of caring in our work with both patients and our students.”

As dean, she recommends the nursing program for its commitment to excellence in nursing education and practice at all levels, and the development of knowledge and skills that enable graduates to work with diverse populations. The program embeds a set of cultural competencies into the curriculum, and students train at top Chicago-area hospitals and work in various community sites and acute care agencies that enable them to engage with patients from wide socioeconomic backgrounds and cultural diversity. One acute care agency has 28 languages spoken alone. Students also have opportunities to gain international experience in Zambia, Mexico, and Sweden.

Faith informs Dr. Duncan’s practice and interaction with students and is incorporated into the curriculum as well. “Students look at the influence of faith on one’s understanding of birth, death, suffering, and health,” she says. “Students are taught to take a spiritual assessment of their patients and use this in planning care.”

“The undergraduate program is rigorous and demanding,” Dr. Duncan says. “Our students are valued in the marketplace because they are seen as bringing more than skill to the bedside—they also bring a commitment to caring. The graduate program is also committed to excellence. The focus is on developing nurse leaders prepared to guide change in the healthcare environment.”

She says the job market is strong for nursing at both the undergraduate and graduate level. “The graduate students train for specific positions such as nurse practitioner. The undergraduate nurses graduate as a generalist nurse. Job placement may be in acute, chronic, and community-based settings and in a variety of subspecialties.”

Dr. Duncan brings more than 30 years of clinical practice and research to North Park. Her clinical practice has been focused in critical care, working at Swedish Covenant Hospital, Rush North Shore, and Northshore University Health System Skokie Hospital. She also worked as a clinical ethics consultant at Swedish Covenant Hospital as part of a federally-funded five-hospital research project. Her research focus includes decision making in the ICU environment in end-of-life care, as well as moral development and its impact on ethical decision making in the clinical environment. Dr. Duncan continues to work part-time in critical care in order to remain current in her clinical practice as she's teaching and advising students.

As dean, she also serves on several committees to represent the school, including the Illinois Council of Colleges of Nursing, the community advisory board for Oakton Community College’s nursing program, and Heartland International Community Advisory Board for Hibbard Elementary School.

Dr. Duncan is a member of National League for Nursing (NLN), American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), American Association of Critical Care Nurses, Society for Critical Care Medicine, Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity, and Sigma Theta Tau.


  • DNP, Rush University Chicago
  • MSN, Loyola University Chicago
  • Studies in Theology, Moody Bible Institute Chicago
  • BS, North Park University

“Our students are valued in the marketplace because they are seen as bringing more than skill to the bedside—they also bring a commitment to caring."